Depression and College Students
Today’s college students face many obstacles. The stress that comes from University life including financial worries, higher incidence of joblessness after graduation, lack of sleep, and poor eating habits can all contribute to depression in students. This can cause some students to leave school or worse.
The stress from academia alone can send many students into a depressive episode. In college there is plenty of pressure. There’s pressure to get the best grades and to land the best job after graduation. Unfortunately, today’s college students are more at risk of joblessness and have higher risks of financial debt than previous generations of undergrads. Tuition is also at an all-time high, leaving many students and their families in debt long after graduation.
It is also important to note that most mental illnesses are known to strike during the ages of 18 and 24; the college years. During this time major illnesses such as Clinical Depression and Bipolar Disorder are more likely to manifest for the first time. This of course, adds to the stress of college life.
Many college students are unprepared for college life. They are young and are on their own for the first time. They are now free from the influence of their parents. This time can be very exciting for them, yet also challenging. Depressed students are also at a higher risk of substance abuse. They are more likely to binge drink, smoke marijuana, and participate in risky sexual behaviors. All of these factors combined can unfortunately be the recipe for a depressive episode.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people in the 15-34 age range. 8.3% of young adults aged 18-25 have had serious thoughts of suicide. Risk factors for suicidal youth include substance abuse, a family history of depression, stressful life events, prior suicide attempts, and exposure to other students who have died by suicide.
Treating Depression in College Students
It is crucial for parents, faculty, and campus counseling departments to get involved if they suspect a student is suffering from clinical depression. Before a treatment plan is made, a mental health evaluation should be performed to evaluate students who are at-risk.
Treatment usually consists of a combination of antidepressants and talk therapies. Talk therapies beneficial to college students include cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy.
Depressed students can also benefit from healthy lifestyle changes such as daily exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough rest.
College life can be very stressful, without a doubt. To complicate it further, many mental illnesses strike during young adulthood. College students who suffer from depression need a supportive environment to help them overcome it. It helps if they have healthy friendships on campus as well as emotional support from back home. If you are suffering from depression, we are here to support you. Give our office a call. (888) 203-0113.